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The amount involved is very small. The noble Lord, Lord Campbell-Savours, raised the important question of how much it is likely to cost. Having made a quick calculation, almost all gifts will come from members of the political parties, of which there are now about 500,000 between them. Probably only a small proportion of those give more money than their membership

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subscription. But let us assume that the total membership contributions amount to an average of £40 per member, which is perhaps on the generous side. That includes all donations but cuts out everything above the tax relief limit. If that is so, it would add up to a total of £20 million of donations and the tax relief on that would be about £5million. Even in the days of the credit crunch, £5 million is not an enormous sum to be paid. In any event, it should at least be possible to pass this as legislation but leave it to the Government, who always have the power, to decide when that particular provision should be brought into force.

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Having said that, this has been an interesting debate. As I said, I greatly welcome the support my amendment has received and I beg leave to withdraw it.

Amendment 120A withdrawn.

Lord Tunnicliffe: This may be a convenient moment for the Committee to adjourn until tomorrow at 3.45 pm.

Committee adjourned at 7.28 pm.

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